HONDA has officially confirmed that it will shut its Swindon factory in 2021 - a year earlier than initial reports suggested.

The closure will be part of a restructure which aims to accelerate the company's commitment to electrified cars and focus activity in regions where it expects to have high production volumes.

In a statement, the company claimed this restructure will be carried out in response to what it called "unprecedented changes in the global automotive industry.

Katsushi Inoue, chief officer for European regional operations at Honda Motor Co., Ltd. and president of Honda Motor Europe, said; “In light of the unprecedented changes that are affecting our industry, it is vital that we accelerate our electrification strategy and restructure our global operations accordingly. As a result, we have had to take this difficult decision to consult our workforce on how we might prepare our manufacturing network for the future.

"This has not been taken lightly and we deeply regret how unsettling today’s announcement will be for our people.”

HUM Director, Jason Smith, said; “We understand the impact this proposal will have on our associates, wider supplier base and the local community. We are committed to supporting associates to help them through this difficult time.”

Consultation activity will begin today and HUM will be working closely with its workforce, including the recognised trade union, Unite the Union, over the months ahead.

Honda of the UK Manufacturing has now told its employees of the proposal to close the vehicle manufacturing plant at the end of the current model's production lifecycle in 2021.

The plant currently produces 150,000 cars per year,and employs around 3,500 people.